flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

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Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery
Recent Examples on the Web Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery. New York Times, "Soccer Samples Streetwear and Loves the Fit," 31 Mar. 2021 Also, panderers, seducers, traffickers in flattery, false prophets, braggarts and thieves. Washington Post, "Gene Weingarten: What is Trump’s eternal fate? The Legions of Darkness have some thoughts.," 11 Mar. 2021 Dressed in figure-hugging finery, Rebel strides over to the medical company CEO’s table, flashing her best smile and plying him with flattery. Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News, "Katey Sagal is back in new ABC TV series 'Rebel' inspired by Erin Brockovich," 31 Mar. 2021 While Hong and his team are trying their hardest to get the fakes taken down from the site, the artist is also taking it as a form of flattery. Britt Clennett, ABC News, "Chinese artist’s Buddha Trump becomes ‘yuge’ online sensation," 19 Mar. 2021 Then came a crisis that Mr. Cuomo’s signature blend of threats, flattery and browbeating could not mitigate. New York Times, "A Governor in Isolation: How Andrew Cuomo Lost His Grip on New York," 6 Mar. 2021 Noah Syndergaard is still at least three months away from potentially joining the Mets rotation, but the constant flattery for his Tommy John rehab continues to be a positive sign for the flamethrower’s return. Deesha Thosar, courant.com, "Mets’ Syndergaard hitting all the milestones in recovery from elbow surgery," 28 Feb. 2021 Over the past decade, however, the Birkenstock began to garner the fashion world’s sincerest form of flattery: the homage. Nick Kostov, WSJ, "Birkenstock, Once a Fashion Faux Pas, Snapped Up by LVMH’s Arnault," 26 Feb. 2021 And the flattery and glowing orbs that entranced Trump are unlikely to work. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Saudi Arabia is experiencing the downside of betting on the Trump family," 25 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flattery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flattery

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Learn More about flattery

Time Traveler for flattery

Time Traveler

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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Statistics for flattery

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flattery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flattery. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for flattery



English Language Learners Definition of flattery

: praise that is not sincere


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

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Comments on flattery

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